- Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 0753 EAT on Monday 11 April 2022.
Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s court has clarified that city lawyer Julius Galisonga was erroneously summoned to take plea in an offensive communication case against exiled satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.
According to the correspondences seen by URN, court erroneously summoned Galisonga to take plea instead of summoning him to appear and explain why he shouldn’t be arrested for failure to produce Kakwenza in court yet he was his surety. On March 23, Buganda Road court chief magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza issued a warrant of arrest against Kakwenza after he skipped bail on charges of offensive communication. Kakwenza is accused of using his Twitter handle, @KakwenzaRukira to post a series of tweets about President Yoweri Museveni and his son Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba. In one of the tweets, Kakwenza refers to the president as an election thief and in another, he calls Muhoozi overweight and intellectually bankrupt.
However, the last time Kakwenza was expected in court on March 23, he didn’t turn up and neither were his four sureties. Lawyer Galisonga, David Lewis Rubongoya, the secretary general for National Unity Platform, Annah Ashaba a teacher at Kololo High School, and Job Kiija were Kakwenza’s sureties.
As a result, court issued a warrant of arrest against Kakwenza and issued criminal summons to his sureties, requiring them to appear before court tomorrow April 11 and explain why an arrest warrant shouldn’t be issued against them for failure to produce the accused in court.
But the court document that was sent to Galisonga, instead commanded him to appear and be answerable to charges of offensive communication. As a result, Galisonga’s lawyers led by Eron Kiiza on April 5, wrote to the chief magistrate Singiza, asking him to avail a certified copy of the signed and sanctioned charge sheet spelling out the particulars of the offense against their client.They also asked court to give them full documents, materials, and evidence the State intends to rely on in the case against Galisonga.
“We pray for the said information before the 11th April, 2022 to enable our client to prepare his defense in accordance with article 28 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda,” reads the letter in part.
But in response, Dr Singiza on April 6 said Galisonga and his lawyers should ignore the earlier summons.
“This is to inform you that the summons was intended to show cause why a warrant of arrest should not be taken against sureties for Kakwenza Rukirabashaija. There are no formal criminal charges against Galisonga Julius. Please ignore any errors in the earlier summons. Please find the fresh summons against the three sureties,” reads the feedback.
Galisonga’s lawyer Kiiza noted that the evil intention is clear but the methodology is what they are pondering.
“How can a chief magistrate make such an error of issuing criminal summons, sign them and indicate an offense Galisonga has allegedly committed and pretend it is an error after we ask for the charge?,” said Kiiza. He added that all this is in bad faith and that they want to arrest sureties to intimidate people who stand as sureties for government critics.